Kids Found Living On Bus
Brother and sister found in makeshift shelter; parents are in federal prison.
Texas Child Protective Services caseworkers said they were never alerted to past abuse claims that focused on the two children found living in an old school bus.
Montgomery County law enforcement dispatch records reviewed by NBC affiliate KPRC found ten calls since June to the lot where the bus sits in Splendora.
A 5-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl were removed from the abandoned shell of a school bus at that address on Wednesday.
In two of the calls to police, the 5-year-old apparently called for help and the aunt who was supposed to be caring for him then downplayed any need for police.
Gwen Carter with Child Protective Services said caseworkers from her office were never told about the kids living in the bus, or the past allegations of child abuse that were reported to police.
"At this point, our investigation is very new. We continue to try and gather information so we can make a determination of what's in the best interest of the children," she said.
Both of the parents are locked away in federal prison for a disaster assistance scam related to Hurricane Ike, and county officials identified the aunt that was supposed to be caring for them as Hazel Earline Burts of Splendora.
When asked for her side of the story on Thursday afternoon, she declined to comment.
She opened a front window on the bus, where she remained all day, telling the reporter to leave the property and suggesting that she may call the reporter another time.
Montgomery County law enforcement dispatch records show one call to police from that address on December 14, 2011, that is titled "Child Discipline."
According to those logs, the 5-year-old called police and said, "please send someone" because his 11-year-old sister was locked in a physical struggle with their aunt.
The boy told police that the sister had intervened because he was being beaten for "ruining his bed," according to county dispatch records.
Those records show that Burts told deputies that they were not needed, and she blamed the 911 call on the 5-year-old learning how to use the phone.
The dispatch records said that she told dispatchers that the boy would be getting "five licks" for placing the phone call to 911.
Deputies responded and the 5-year-old boy told them he wanted to pack his bags and leave the school bus.
No one was arrested in that call.
The girl told deputies it was all an accident.
Other calls to Montgomery County law enforcement did not involve the children.